So here we are again. Turning the crispy-leafed pages of a new calendar to a January already riddled with domestic disaster. Here we are again, investing in longer lasting masks, replenishing our stash of toilet paper, and scrolling through news feeds desperately searching for truth yet questioning everything we read. Here we are again, bundling up our shame and attempting to show up to our next Zoom meeting like we’ve breezed through this whole pandemic.
Does anyone else feel as displaced as I do? Anyone else out there waffling on simple, everyday decisions? Anyone else blindly trying to find a rhythm, set a pace, but instead, curl up at the end of the day feeling wholly pathetic? Anyone else staring blankly at the kids when they ask, again, all the “Are we going to…?”, and the “Can we…?”, and “How come they can and we can’t…?” because, honestly, you have no idea what the actual real answer to any of the questions are?
Anyone else feeling uncomfortable in your everyday life?
This past Thanksgiving, after the boys had subtly asked for months, we began a transformation on their bedroom. Bins of bulky toys and boxes crammed with cars were shoved into the back of the closet and the twin beds were pushed to the middle of the room so we could wipe down the trim and start taping off the edges for a fresh coat of paint. In the process a few lightbulbs needed to be changed and I urged the 12-year-old to give it a try. The lights recess up into the ceiling and even on a chair he had to stretch his whole growing body to fingertip the glass edges. He groaned nervous. Reaching all.the.way he finally managed to unscrew one can-light and as I handed him the new one he remarked that it wasn’t the job that felt hard, it was that the bulbs were so fragile. And I blinked and felt the truth press into me.
He wasn’t scared of what needed to be done, he was scared of the fragility of what was new. And I knew it in my bones, that this New Year had its own fragile cupping. As we put away the Christmas decorations and tossed out old cookies, we wrestled with the unknown.
Hmmm. Seems like somewhere along the edges of my upbringing I was told not to get too comfortable here on this old, tippy planet anyway. But my soul longs for a place to belong. My nerves curl outwards, reaching for purpose. Seeking ways to fill my time here, but my time here feels stuck in a 24-hour spin.
So, when I made an impulsive purchase at an after-Christmas sale and cracked open the book “Gracelaced” by Ruth Chou Simons and found the very first word to read DWELL, I felt my restlessness dwindle a tiny drop and I hugged that book close and stalled long in the dark morning.
And for three weeks now I have been intent about discovering where I belong.
What seems like such a simple word has held my thoughts hostage and I pour over scripture trying to identify its proper use and here is what I find,
“He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will abide in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say to the Lord, “My refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust.” Psalm 91:1-2.
Friend, there are so many places for a girl to float about, to hide, to reach, to achieve, to retrace, or to embark. But maybe it’s in the still dwelling that holds all the ‘something mores’ that fill an anxious being with peace. Maybe it’s ‘sheltering in’ and not ‘acting out’ that creates the place for God to call you to a holy purpose. Maybe that large hole is actually the cleft in the Rock of a Risen Savior, a place meant for you to rest in and feel the redeeming of what we butchered last year. Maybe, as we turn the calendar, we also spend time returning to a fortress much less fragile than the glass ladders we set out to climb.
I’m going to spend more time learning about the places we live in. The dwelling places of our past and the dwelling places of our present. A little bit about the journeys that have taken us to these places and gain some understanding in the ways we can feel grafted into the spaces we want to be in the most. In a later newsletter I’ll share with you what I found. And if you’ll pray for me, and dig in too? That we’ll find the place we’re meant to dwell in the most? Meanwhile, I’d like to leave you with this prayer by Peter Marshall.
“In the name of Jesus Christ, who was never in a hurry, we pray, O God, that You will slow us down, for we know that we live too fast. With all of eternity before us, make us take time to live – time to get acquainted with You, time to enjoy You, time to enjoy Your blessings, and time to know each other.” Peter Marshall
May your calling-out be the echo of the sacred cave you have found. May it take down all of the temporary shelters you set up. And may you find room enough to share with all wayfaring strangers seeking The Kingdom.